About burning embers and pecking at reflective windows

The Truth Within

First hear, then understand, and then, leaving all distractions, shut your mind to outside influences and devote yourself to developing the truth within you. There is the danger of frittering away your energies by taking up an idea only for its novelty, and then giving it up for another that is newer.

Take one thing up and do it, and see the end of it, and before you have seen the end, do not give it up. He who can become mad with an idea, he alone sees light.

Swami Vivekananda


One of the babblers in our garden is mad about the windows. Or is it his own reflection he finds threatening? I wonder. He comes and pecks at each one, turn after turn. Peck, peck, peck. He is so insistent, in fact , that the dogs have given up trying to shoo him away (and they are known to be quite dogged already). Quite mad. How did he get the idea of finding a competitor or a companion on the other side of the window? How did he get so mad about the prospect of beaking at the window? But then what is it to me? I am concerned with getting mad about an idea long enough to see light. And finding the truth within.

If I peck at each reflection I see, I might reach a personal nirvana at some point in time. Once the insistent tap-tapping has punctured holes in the indefatigable titanium of my fantasy-plane, light just might beam in. So, maybe, Swami Vivekananda’s concept may not be humbug after all. I’d reverently jotted these lines of his on my writing practise notebook, quite sure of my determination to finish one story. That was about 6 years back. I haven’t finished a single story. But I am still mad about the pecking. Honestly. And unlike the babbler, I do not see a competitor on the window pane. I see just the pane. It can be quite tiresome to communicate with a blank sheet of glass. But I admit it has its virtues, too. I can go on to explore each section, make patterns, fly off and come back and see if there’s a drifting feather stuck on to it. Yes. Maybe that is it. Maybe the stories need a drifting feather to see their completion.

Just one big fleck of something to justify the pecking! (Image courtesy blazer8696 at Flickr.com)

The Caveman must have discovered the virtues of rhubarb*. Or it may have been The Neanderthal Man. It matters not. It does bother me, however, that before He saw the virtues of the Red Stalk, He must’ve eaten the lush greens of it. What made him get mad with the idea enough to jeopardise health over and over again. Had it not been for His burning desire to find more veggies to make pies with, we’d have been stuck with broccoli. Bless Him.

And bless Him for seamlessly bringing me to another concept that has been burning holes in my brain for a number of years. Fire. Fire is a concept, because

a. Its figurative aspect can make you grow crazy

b. The fact that all people sitting around a fire will hypnotically stare at it till the time there’s some rhubarb pie distraction (and subsequently go back to the staring) makes for a reasonable research concept.

I am concerned with b.

Well, fire consumes, doesn’t it?

If there were a better way to express being consumed with an idea than fire, I’d use it. Perhaps this is why people sitting around fire cannot take their eyes off it.

Much like being mad with an idea. And I suppose the light that it gives will stand aside for a more brilliant one, once you see the end of it.

*While I was looking for an interesting rhubarb picture on Wikipedia, I came across this singular piece of trivia. It is absolutely not related to being mad about an idea: Rhubarb is usually considered to be a vegetable; however, in the United States a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction in taxes paid. (I decided not to use a rhubarb picture, by the way).

16 thoughts on “About burning embers and pecking at reflective windows”

  1. You say that you see just the pane. But if you keep pecking long enough, you’ll eventually break through to somewhere, and that could be a dangerous process. Maybe it’s the pain you’re seeing. I say hit harder. You’re depriving us all of the light. And the heat. This post is a perfect example of your ability to see what no one else can, and to put it into words that flicker and dance and burn. I’m already mesmerized. Now I want to read one of those finished stories.

    On a less insistent note, your discussion of rhubarb almost jolted me out of the chair. My son and I were talking about rhubarb yesterday — less than 24 hours ago! — and whether it’s a fruit or a vegetable. Believe me, we don’t talk about rhubarb very often. I’m beginning to expect these coincidences.

    1. Really? Coincidences are really something, aren’t they? I haven’t thought of rhubarb since I was 10, maybe. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you for the encouragement. Your words are already flickering and dancing and burning in my head!

  2. Aw, now I want Rhubarb crumble and I’m not even a great fan of rhubarb! (Apple crumble, now that’s different. I could eat apple crumble any time).

    Birds are funny creatures (I should know), don’t be misled into thinking that they’re pecking at their reflections. Ours peck at double-glazed windows and reflections aren’t quite the same and they peck at the wood the glass is set into. Blue tits, mostly. There’s a book called ‘Living with birds’ you might like to check out (it’s out of print but there are plenty of second hand copies around still) and part of it is concerned with a great tit (parus major) that the writer taught to count by giving it ‘pecking examples’.

    I find doing just one thing at a time til it’s quite finished to be quite stagnating. Some people can do it, others can’t. Why be like anyone else. Be like yourself. One day in the future the idea or ideal you’re reaching for now might be you… but then again, it might not be. No harm will be done, either way. You’re being you. Be you.

    So maybe, change the way you interpret the pecking and pershaps what you’re intuiting within will change also.

  3. Priya – I love the way you made your point by not sticking to a subject through to the end – throwing in a bit of tart, sharp, tangy rhubarb. Very effective.

    Now, if I can get my salivation under control, I can get back to the subject of pecking and passions.

    Apparently 2011 is in need of our intention and attention. Oh dear…the poor planet may be in worse trouble than we thought! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Glad you liked the post, Amy. These morale-boosting comments should help me finish the stories one day! And then we can take care of 2011 or thereafter! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Priya, this is my first visit and I am delighted that the promise of the well-turned word has been borne out. I won’t even pretend that I get what you’re saying. Your words are like art – still lovely even if misunderstood. Souldipper helped. I get it now ๐Ÿ™‚

    I did understand rhubarb, though. I made only one cake from scratch – it was a rhubarb cake! So, we have the Neanderthal to thank for that tasty veggie, huh?

    I’ve put you in my feed reader. See ya soon!



    1. I am very happy you did not pretend to understand. I do that sometimes (pretend to understand), and it’s quite a burden (besides being glaringly visible!). And it delights me to know that you feel my words are like a work of art. Thank you, Mitch.
      However, I do think should attempt to make them slightly less arty, to ensure that you return without having to think twice about bombastic ideas here!

      Rhubarb cake! I’ve never eaten one, leave alone bake. Is it sweet or savoury?

      It was lovely to see you here, needless to say.

  5. I agree that we can peck peck peck and don’t have to stay with something longer than our soul wants to. But I also find that I come back to the same messages again and again, sometimes through the same avenue, sometimes a different one. I have stacks of books to testify. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rhubarb! Yes, it’s a strange delicacy. You are synchronizing in this post! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your anniversary wishes. I’m glad we’ve met.

    1. That is the beauty of ‘natural progression’, I think, Ruth. It never allows you to deviate. I suppose the endless pecking is to serve this end. People who stop doing it probably never get to see what was to be theirs. Destiny is a strange word. It makes you want to peck faster towards it. At the same time, it makes you sit and relax and feel “It’s going to come to me anyhow. So there.”

      It is always a pleasure to visit your site, and I’ll never tire of saying it! I am glad we’ve met, too!

  6. Priya,
    Thank you for leaving a comment on my site. You have some interesting ideas here. By the way, I love strawberry rhubarb pie. How funny that it’s a fruit in the U.S.
    Happy New Year.

    1. Bella,
      Thank you for visiting. It delights me to know that you find some of my ideas interesting. It encourages me to voice them more! Your latest post on decluttering is quite after my heart. It is one of the essential things, I feel. But I am beginning to write about it here rather than go there and comment! Silly me.

      A very Happy New Year to you and yours, too!

      ps: Don’t forget to thank the Neanderthal (or whoever) the next time you eat the strawberry and rhubarb pie. It was his peck-pecking, after all.

  7. Priya, this is my first visit, too. And what a delight it was. I think I agree with BronxBoy about maybe pecking a little harder. Of course, that’s sure putting pressure on you, but I agree that you might be depriving us the light and the heat, and lets face it, we’re a selfish race, not easily giving in to deprivation. I commiserate with your struggle to communicate with the blank screen, but really, it’s not as blank as it seems. We’re here on the other side, smiling and waiting….

    Now I’ve more reading to do.

    1. How wonderful of you to say what you’ve just said, Linda! It makes my struggle that much more easier to sustain. Thank you! I hope to see more of you here, and there at your blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s